START HERE

Posts by Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Friend to Friend


Physical therapists scare me. They are so friendly and so kind … until they get hold of whatever body part needs therapy. That’s when the torture begins.


At first, the therapist is gentle, lulling you into a false sense of comfort. Then it begins. I soon learned that they push just a little past the point where pain begins and your trust in them ends, doing very little to change my mind about the role of a physical therapist.


Several months ago I had extensive surgery for a separated shoulder. For six weeks, my surgeon threatened me within an inch of my life about not moving my arm and shoulder at all. When I went in for a follow-up visit,

Read More

Today’s Truth

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Friend to Friend


“You need surgery, Mary,” the doctor said. Surely I had heard him wrong. My summer plans flashed before my eyes, and I clearly did not have time for surgery.


I had writing projects to complete, trips to take with our grandchildren, my usual painstakingly thorough summer house cleaning, several home improvements to complete … the list was impressive.


The doctor’s words interrupted my thoughts, “When can we get you on the schedule? We don’t want to wait too long.” I simply could not believe what he was telling me.


I had gone to see my general practitioner after a pretty nasty fall, but I just thought I had bruised my collarbone or pulled a ligament in my shoulder. He x-rayed my

Read More

Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friend to Friend


I am told that in the famous lace shops of Belgium there are certain rooms used for spinning the finest and most delicate designs of lace. Each room is completely dark – except for one small window. Through this tiny window, light shines directly on the work at hand. A solitary spinner works in the darkness, sitting where the narrow stream of light will fall on the delicate thread. The choicest pieces of lace, the most exquisite designs, are created when the worker is in the dark and only his work is in the light.


When it comes to dealing with our past, we often find ourselves sitting in the darkness of frustration and pain, wondering if anything good

Read More

Today’s Truth

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Luke 6:27-28

Friend to Friend


I sometimes think the holiday season should come with a warning label that reads, “The Sandpaper People are coming!” Holidays usher in many things – one of which is the opportunity to deal with the difficult people in our lives. The relative that irritated you last Thanksgiving may very well do the same exasperating things this year. The people waiting in line with you will most likely be impatient and grumpy, and the person checking you out will probably be exhausted and running on fumes. Now is the time to get ready to deal with your sandpaper people – the people who rub you the wrong way.


God created us with the capacity for strong emotions. Sandpaper people not

Read More

Today’s Truth

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Friend to Friend


“You will never be able to have biological children,” the doctor said. After years of painful tests, expensive treatments, frustrating procedures, and desperate pleas and prayers, our hopes of having children were shattered by his harsh diagnosis. “Then we will adopt” my husband immediately replied. I wasn’t so sure. Could I love another woman’s baby as much as a child I would give birth to? I just didn’t know.


Months later God called Dan to be the Youth Pastor of a church where we met a Christian attorney. “We’d like to talk with you about adoption,” Dan said. Ron’s response wasn’t encouraging. “I rarely do adoptions, but come by my office and fill out the papers – just in

Read More

Today’s Truth

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

Friend to Friend


We all battle fear. Fear constantly tries to elbow faith aside, hoping to derail God’s plan and purpose in our lives. Fear keeps many of us from dreaming God-sized dreams, persuading us to settle for safety and comfort instead of riding the waves of possibilities. When faith yanks our hideous fears out of the darkness and into the light, we can see them for what they really are – powerless.


Faith is a three-letter word.


Faith says “yes” to peace and “no” to fear.


It may be one tiny step or one puny choice.


It may be a whispered prayer or a desperate cry.


But God always honors the choice to walk straight ahead through fear. Fear trains us to anticipate the worst

Read More

Today’s Truth

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 1:18

Friend to Friend


Before becoming a lead teaching pastor, my husband served as a youth pastor for 13 years. During that time, he and I were invited to Washington, D.C. to lead a youth conference in a Korean Baptist Church. It was an amazing week during which God showed up in powerful ways!


At the end of the week, a woman on the Church Youth Committee invited us out to dinner. We went to a wonderful but very expensive restaurant – you know, the kind of restaurant where the menu shows no prices. At the end of the meal, our host went to pay for our meal.


I could see her talking with the restaurant owner, and I could tell that she was

Read More

Today’s Truth

Go to the lost, confused people … touch the untouchables. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

Matthew 10:5

Friend to Friend


The heat was brutal. My back was killing me. I was exhausted from a nearly sleepless night, and I had a pounding headache. Every muscle rebelled against the long flights and relentless van rides it had taken to arrive at this rural village in India. I longed for a relaxing, hot bath, but what I had was a bucket of cold water and a plastic cup with which to bathe.


My outer appearance certainly denied my inner attitude. I plastered what I thought must surely be a spiritual kind of smile on my face in an effort to portray the mercy and love I wanted to share. My husband and I were on a 19-day whirlwind trip to South

Read More

Today’s Truth

For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:10

Friend to Friend


Our son was born to be a builder. From the time he could hold a plastic red hammer in his toddler-sized hands, Jered began hammering imaginary nails into the coffee table, fixing everything that was broken in our house, and drawing crayon blueprints of various objects he planned to build.


I knew we had a true builder on our hands when Jered built a clubhouse inside our garage. And what a clubhouse it was – complete with four walls, a roof, windows and a door, carpeted flooring and a window air conditioning unit – all of which he scrounged from neighbors, dumpsters and piles of discarded wood at construction sites. If we needed storage cabinets in our garage, Jered

Read More

Today’s Truth

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Friend to Friend


The emotional demands on women are immense. One of the ways God replenishes us emotionally is through friendships. Many women are convinced that the risk of having close friends outweighs the rewards. I disagree.


There is no love without risk. Every friendship must contain the element of risk if it is to grow and mature, reaching its full potential. Friendships make us stronger. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. If you add a strand to a single cord, you double its strength. But if you add a third strand to the cord, it becomes ten times stronger.


Ruth was willing to risk her very future for the sake of her friendship with her

Read More

Today’s Truth

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

Friend to Friend


A father was trying to take his Sunday afternoon nap but having little success because his young son kept waking him up with the complaint, “Daddy, I’m bored.” The father knew he needed to come up with some kind of plan to keep the little boy occupied, or there would be no nap. He glanced at the newspaper lying on the coffee table and had what he thought was a brilliant plan to keep his son busy and give him more time to sleep.


The father picked up the paper and pointed to a picture of the world on the front page. “This is a picture of the world, but it is also a puzzle,” the father explained. He then ripped the picture into about fifty pieces, handed them to his young son and said, “I

Read More

Today’s Truth

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since He had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned. So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16

Friend to Friend


I learn a lot from our grandchildren. Justus, our eight-year-old grandson, came up with what I thought was an ingenious plan for disobedience when he was a toddler. Our daughter called one day, laughing. “Mom, I have to tell you what your grandson just said.”


Now when Danna refers to Justus as “your grandson” it generally means he has done something wrong – an extremely rare occurrence as far as I can tell.


Danna said, “I told Justus it was time to put away his toys and get ready for his nap. He stopped what he was doing, and I could tell he was seriously thinking about what I had asked him to do. Then his eyes sparkled, and he

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Friend to Friend


Like all relationships, the marriage relationship has a certain dynamic. If one person changes, then the whole relationship will change. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate making personal change. It is hard work and more often than not, extremely painful! So when it comes to the marriage relationship, I attempt to make sure that it is my husband who does all of the changing instead of me. Unfortunately, that tactic is not only contradictory to God’s plan for marriage, but it never works and inevitably leads to frustration and friction in the home.


In every relationship, but especially in marriage, God calls us to encourage one another and build each other up. During our first year

Read More

Today’s Truth

My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him.

Psalm 62:5

Friend to Friend


Elijah is a great example of a man in need of rest. One day he was the conquering hero, the next time we see him, he is sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity – and begging God to let him die. The poor man was simply exhausted. True, it was an exhaustion produced by victory, but it was still exhaustion.


Elijah called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying idols and idol worshipers. Elijah should have been celebrating. So why was he so discouraged? It was a woman, Jezebel, who was largely responsible for his discouragement.


Jezebel was the evil and influential wife of Ahab, King of Israel, and was widely known

Read More

Today’s Truth

The LORD is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? Evil people may try to destroy my body. My enemies and those who hate me attack me, but they are overwhelmed and defeated. If an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid. If war breaks out, I will trust the LORD.

Psalm 27:1-3

Friend to Friend


I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the phone rang and my husband said, “Honey, you need to turn on the television – right now.” It was the middle of the day and I was busy cleaning house, doing laundry and trying to cram in an hour of study time, but the sadness and dread in my husband’s voice stopped me in my tracks. Something was very wrong.


I was still totally unprepared for the horrific scene that played out in vivid reality on the television screen before me. I stared in shock at the surreal images of two airplanes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Read More

Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Friend to Friend


I am not normally a fan of boxing, but there is one boxing movie that I love – the first Rocky Balboa movie. Yep! It’s a winner.


One particular part of the movie really grabbed my attention. Over the years, it has produced layers of spiritual truths in my life. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Stay with me.


Here’s the story. Rocky barely made enough money to buy food and pay the rent on his truly disgusting and roach-infested apartment. Rocky’s job was to retrieve money for a loan shark. Translation? He was a muscle man and probably broke various body parts to collect past due loans for his boss, Gazzo.


But in his spare time, Rocky

Read More

Today’s Truth

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

Friend to Friend


You know how kids are. Older children tend to think it’s their job to educate younger children about the facts of life – and I do mean the facts of life.


Two of our grandsons, Justus who is seven and Hudson who is five, often play with several boys in the neighborhood. Up until now, the older boys have protected Justus and Hudson and have always been kind enough to include them in whatever game they were playing. One of the 10-year-old boys told Danna that Justus and Hudson are the coolest little kids he has ever met. He attends our church and is such a sweet kid. He truly loves our grandsons and thinks of them as his

Read More

Today’s Truth

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:5

Friend to Friend


Sometimes it is the little things that really get to me. As a writer, I spend a great deal of my time in front of a computer – with which I have a love-hate relationship. I love the convenience a computer offers when it comes to recording the thoughts and truths God gives me to share, but there are times when I would like to throw my laptop into the nearest body of water and be done with it.


I can remember the days when I literally wrote out every word of a lesson or devotion because I was terrified of even trying to use a computer. But the day finally came when I realized that the good reasons

Read More

Today’s Truth

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5

Friend to Friend


Anyone who knows me well also knows that I can kill any plant. If you are thinking you have some foolproof gardening tips that can help me, think again. Trust me when I say that I have already heard and tried whatever tip or technique you believe will transform me into a master gardener. It won’t.


But I am not a quitter! What some might call stubbornness, I prefer to call perseverance. And that perseverance has finally paid off! I am now the proud owner of a tower garden.


A tower garden is a vertical aeroponic growing system that allows me to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than three square feet—indoors or out. So

Read More

Today’s Truth

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Friend to Friend


Valleys are lined with disappointment and discouragement. Some people seem to thrive on adversity, emerging from their valley with greater strength and deeper faith. Others stumble and fall, giving in to discouragement and dropping out of the race. The difference in outcome is determined by the way we choose to handle discouragement.


We must respond to each valley with trust and faith. The word “trust” means, “to lie helpless, face down” and is the picture of a servant waiting for his master’s command or a soldier yielding himself to a conquering general. “Heart” refers to “the center of one’s being.” In other words, to trust God completely means that from the very center of our being, from the very

Read More

Today’s Truth

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

Psalm 23:4

Friend to Friend


The greenest grass is always found in the valley. Shepherds and sheep are well acquainted with the fact that both mountains and valleys are an inevitable part of life.


Remember – the shepherd has to figure out a way over the mountain and through the valley. If a sheep is injured, the shepherd must carry his sheep and tend to its wounds until they are healed and the sheep is ready to return to the fold. The shepherd’s whole world revolves around the safety and comfort of his sheep, even in the deepest valley.


Valleys are a certainty of life. Your job is eliminated. Your husband is having an affair, or your teenage daughter is pregnant. Financial pressure suffocates dreams,

Read More

Today’s Truth

And He said unto them, ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.

Mark 6:31

Friend to Friend


I have learned many lessons from my husband about how to do ministry. Dan is a people person and views strangers as friends he simply hasn’t met yet. But his heart beats for the lost man who seems to be running from God with every ounce of energy he has. Dan’s passion gave birth to the Fireside Ministry.


Every Sunday night men from all walks of life gather in our driveway around a fire pit to share what God is doing in their lives as well as the struggles they are experiencing. They ask for help. They pray for each other. Fireside time is a holy time where God shows up and works in amazing ways.


One Sunday night I

Read More

Today’s Truth

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11

Friend to Friend


As a little girl, I really did have a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow. I can remember the day my mother showed me the lamb and explained that she did not have a bottle with which to feed the stray lamb. I agreed to let the lamb have my bottle if I could have the lamb. I have been fascinated by the unique relationship between sheep and their shepherd ever since.


The type of shepherding referred to in the Bible is not the farming of fenced pasturelands, but a type of nomadic grazing. The shepherd must carefully plan the path and lead the way so that the sheep have neither too little nor too much grazing,

Read More

Today’s Truth

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

Friend to Friend


I will never forget the day I learned how God really can turn tragedy into triumph. I was sitting at my desk, working on an assignment from the counselor I had been seeing. For months, I had been wrestling with my past – slowly, methodically working through painful issues and buried memories that seemed to be feeding the clinical depression I was battling. As page after page filled with harsh realities, a memory slammed into my heart and mind.


The pain was overwhelming as a vile scene from my childhood slowly took shape. I could hardly breathe as I frantically tried to escape the certainty that I had been molested. The perpetrator had been our family doctor and a

Read More

Today’s Truth

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:26

Friend to Friend


I heard the doorbell ring, but I had absolutely no desire to answer it. I was desperately trying to withdraw from my world. It was too dark and too painful. I just wanted to be left alone.


Clinical depression was sucking the life out of me. I was seeing a counselor. I was also under the care of a psychiatrist who discovered I had a chemical imbalance that required medication. But it would be a long, hard road.


The doorbell rang again. I pulled the covers over my head, determined to outlast whoever was trying to work their way into my pain. It was easier to just surrender to the darkness than it was to struggle my way to the

Read More

Today’s Truth

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19

Friend to Friend


Through the years, God has grabbed my attention with an illness that drove me to bed or a crisis that drove me to my knees. He is a persistent Father who understands the value of rest. Jesus even modeled the truth that it is in Sabbath moments where we will find Him most precious and hear His voice more clearly. After all, He was in charge of the creation process that included the need for rest. Did God need to rest? Obviously not, but by creating a day of rest, He drove home the fact that our bodies were created in such a way that rest is not an option. Make no mistake – we will rest –

Read More

Today’s Truth

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19

Friend to Friend


It is much easier to give in to sin or yield to temptation when we are physically depleted. Discipline begins in the mind and then travels to the body. I can hear you groaning already, but stay with me. Sin and temptation often find their greatest opportunity to work in the body.


I have struggled with diet and exercise from childhood. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I enjoy eating, hate exercise, and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet. Consequently my weight has fluctuated over the years like a championship yo-yo.


Satan rejoiced

Read More

Today’s Truth

Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who truly want to find Him.

Hebrews 11:6

Friend to Friend


I grew up in Texas where tornadoes are a common occurrence. When the clouds took on a peculiar shade of green and the wind began to blow, we would turn on the radio and wait for any news, hoping and praying it was just an ugly storm headed our way. Many times we were forced to climb down into the damp, musty storm shelter buried in our back yard. I hated those storms!


Dan and I had been married several years when God moved us to South Florida where hurricanes seemed to be the norm for native Floridians. Then Hurricane Andrew came along, and I experienced first-hand the devastation these monstrous storms can inflict. I saw nothing normal at

Read More

Today’s Truth

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Friend to Friend


I was enjoying a few moments of silence when I heard our two-year-old granddaughter bouncing down the hallway. Nori is a beautiful little girl with bright blue eyes and dimples that could charm the warts right off a frog. She jabbers constantly in a language that seems to be easily understood by other two-year-olds. Adults? Not so much. But I am learning.


I could tell by the tone of her voice that whatever Nori was talking about was a problem, and she did not like it one bit! She rounded the corner pushing her baby doll stroller and intensely fussing, “Tuck! Beebee tuck!” It took me a minute to assess the crisis. “Mimi! Beebee tuck!” she kept insisting. And

Read More

Today’s Truth

LORD, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say.

Psalm 141:3

Friend to Friend


Our son and daughter-in-law and their four children recently moved to Kansas City and are living with us until they find a house. The conversation around the dinner table each night is always quite animated as Lelia and Jaydan, the nine-year-old twins, give a play-by-play account of their day at school.


During the middle of dinner last night, a rare moment of silence occurred. It did not last long. Lelia looked at me and said, “Mimi, do you know what the strongest muscle in the human body is?” I stopped to think about the question before offering several answers that Lelia quickly dismissed as wrong. “I give up!” I said. With her blue eyes twinkling and a big grin

Read More

Today’s Truth

To one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him, it is sin.

James 4:17

Friend to Friend


Procrastination is one of the greatest sources of stress in life. I once heard a preacher tell the old story of three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian movement. The first demon had it all figured out. “Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no heaven. If we take away the reward incentive, their movement will collapse,” he said. The second demon responded with, “No, I have a better idea. Let’s tell all the Christians that there really is no hell. If we take away their fear of punishment, their movement will collapse.” The third demon offered, “Both of those are great ideas, but there is a better way. Let’s tell

Read More

Today’s Truth

Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

Psalm 32:5

Friend to Friend


Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving … unless we stop it in its tracks with the unconditional love and overwhelming forgiveness of God.


Sin requires only one payment … and that payment has already been made when Jesus gave His life for us on the cross.


Dan and I once had the opportunity to lead a weeklong youth revival for a large Korean church in Washington, D.C. At the end of the week, a lady from the church invited us to have dinner with her and the leadership of the church. We went to a wonderful but very expensive restaurant – the kind of restaurant that has no prices on the menu. When our hostess ordered one of

Read More

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Friend to Friend


Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think they owe us. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply let something go and cut our losses instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt deplete our mental and emotional energy. In other words, we can forgive the debt and free ourselves – a lesson I am continually learning to apply in my life.


Dan and I decided it was time to sell one of our old junky cars. A man who worked for the church where Dan pastored agreed to buy it. He and Dan worked out the terms – none of which the man kept. When Dan said he had decided to forgive

Read More

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Friend to Friend


Do you remember the last words of Jesus as He hung on the cross? “It is finished!” The most literal translation would be “paid in full.”


I will never forget paying off my very first car loan. After sending in my forty-eighth and final payment, I celebrated the fact that I finally owned my bright blue and ever-so-compact Chevrolet Vega – from bumper to bumper. There were those who said you couldn’t drive a Vega – you had to wear it. Others described the bright blue color as strangely “unique.” But to me, it was the most beautiful car in the world because it was mine.


Of course I quickly found other places to spend the once allocated car payment

Read More

Today’s Truth

Rejoice because your names are registered as citizens of heaven.

Luke 10:20

Friend to Friend


Heaven … heaven is on my mind these days. My sweet father-in-law graduated to heaven a few weeks ago where I am sure He was met by Jesus, his precious wife, and so many friends and loved ones who have gone before him.


Dad’s death vividly reminded me that this world is not my home. Heaven is. When I came to Christ in a personal relationship, my citizenship was changed from Earth to Heaven. And what a sweet exchange it was for me!


Heaven is where Jesus is.


Isaiah 63:15 “LORD, look down from the heavens and see; look at us from your wonderful and holy home in heaven.”


Heaven is a real place, a beautiful city of light.


Revelation 21:23 “The city

Read More

Today’s Truth

And He said unto them, ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while’

Mark 6:31

Friend to Friend


It seems we always have a helicopter landing in our house! Have you ever been nearby when a helicopter lands? Everything is in total chaos. The air from the rotors knocks everything in its path off its feet – mainly you. Everything around you is loud and unsettled. It is a rush – and a panic attack all rolled up into one. I’m not a fan. And yet I bring this situation on myself.


My husband says that being married to me is a lot like living on a helicopter-landing pad. I am always on the move and always have a plan. I have to admit that I tend to equate busyness with productivity – a statement that is

Read More

Today’s Truth

Train children how to live right, and when they are old, they will not change.

Proverbs 22:6

Friend to Friend


We live in a world that often denies the importance of being a mom. I am certainly not an expert. When our daughter was born, the bottom line of my heart was simply to be a successful mom. Our daughter’s teenage years were rough! I remember telling her once, “You are going down this road of destruction over my dead body!” She almost did!


But God chose me to be her mom, so I was determined to be the best mom I could be. The good news is that God wants the same thing. Being a parent is a holy calling from God, and God never calls us to do a job without providing the power and the plan

Read More

Today’s Truth

A wise woman strengthens her family, but a foolish woman destroys hers by what she does.

Proverbs 14:1

Friend to Friend


What a crazy day it had been! It was a day probably like many of yours. I was a young mom with two small children. My husband was the youth pastor at a large church in town. I taught a weekly Bible study for senior high girls and directed a youth choir that practiced one night a week and sang for the early worship service every Sunday. We hosted a youth Bible study in our home every Monday night … and, well, you get the idea. My schedule was almost to the point of ridiculous, and I was exhausted most of the time. But this particular day had been crazier than most.


Both kids had a cold and were

Read More

Today’s Truth

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19

Friend to Friend


I have struggled with weight issues since I was a little girl. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I hate exercise, take medications that cause weight gain, enjoy eating, and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet and reward.


I was a young adult and living on my own before I realized that part of the creation process included green things called vegetables. The motto in our family was, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t right.” Gravy was a condiment and potatoes a staple at every meal. No bread? How can you have

Read More

Today’s Truth

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Friend to Friend


Friendship is the springboard to every other love and the foundation for every healthy relationship. It is a proven fact that lonely people live shorter lives than those who have healthy friendships. Even Jesus needed friends when He walked this earth as a man. In fact, He placed great value on relationships. The Bible tells us Jesus spent much of His time deepening the relationships with a few – not the crowd.


God created us to need each other. That truth is never more evident than when we are in pain or struggling with some crisis in life. One of the main factors leading to a two-year battle with clinical depression in my life was the absence of replenishing

Read More

Today’s Truth

You, LORD, give true peace to those who depend on You, because they trust You

Isaiah 26:3

Friend to Friend


As I stood on the sideline of the football field where my then eighteen-year-old son was practicing for the South Florida All Star Football Game, I was not prepared for the hideous sounds and horrific sights that assaulted every protective sense I have as a mother. My baby – my six-foot, two hundred and thirty pound baby – was knocking padded giants left and right as he bulldozed his way toward the goal line.


Mixed emotions and foreign thoughts flooded my heart and mind. On one hand, I was so proud of Jered that I felt like shouting to the college scouts standing beside me, “That’s my boy!” On the other hand, I wanted to drag him off the

Read More

Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friend to Friend


From the smallest concern to the biggest problem in our lives, God cares. If it is big enough to concern you, it is big enough to concern Him.


Author, speaker Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom told of a remarkable experience at the horrific Nazi Ravensbruck prison camp.


Together we entered the terrifying building. At a table were women who took away all our possessions. Everyone had to undress completely and then go to a room where her hair was checked.


I asked a woman who was busy checking the new arrivals if I might use the bathroom. She pointed to a door, and I discovered that the convenience was nothing more than a hole in the shower room floor. Betsie stayed

Read More

Today’s Truth

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Friend to Friend


Have you ever ridden in a helicopter? It’s the ride of a lifetime! But when you land … now that’s another story. A helicopter landing sends absolutely everything flying in a hundred different directions at ridiculously high speeds. I know. That’s how I live life.


One of the reasons I love the apostle Paul is because he seemed to live the same kind of life. Philippians is one of my favorite books written by Paul. The fourth chapter of Philippians is one of the most positive passages Paul ever wrote … and it is written in the midst of a helicopter landing in Paul’s life! Paul is in a Roman jail awaiting judgment and possible execution. He could be

Read More

Today’s Truth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

James 1:19

Friend to Friend


Every relationship begins with listening. Listening is hard work and something we are not prone to do. I tend to use listening time as time to prepare the eloquent things I am going to say when the other person stops talking.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile he was known for and saying the usual things he said at the White House receptions. One evening he decided to find out if anyone was really listening to what he was saying. As each person came up to him to shake his hand, he flashed his big smile and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” People automatically responded with comments such as “How lovely” or

Read More

Today’s Truth

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

Friend to Friend


He was a friend … a pastor visiting my husband and me for a few days. He had come for help and advice because his wife was broken – a statement that made me just a tad bit angry for some reason. I didn’t really know why it made me angry, but it did.


“John, what did you mean when you said your wife is broken?” I asked. His eyes filled with tears as he explained, “She has been diagnosed with clinical depression. Mary, you have never met her, but she is the strongest woman I have ever known. She is talented, godly, and beautiful. But six months ago, she broke. It’s like she shattered into a million pieces

Read More

Today’s Truth

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Friend to Friend


As I was putting our seven-year-old grandson Justus to bed one night, he started talking about fear. “I don’t like to be scared, Mimi. It makes my tummy feel funny and my heart gets kind of jumpy.” I thought that was an excellent description of fear. But knowing Justus and his pure heart that goes hard after God, I should have known he was not through. “But the most awful thing about fear is that I don’t think Jesus likes it, do you, Mimi? I mean, it doesn’t make Him smile, and I want to make Him smile. What do you do when you get scared, Mimi?” I soaked up the wisdom of his words and then whispered

Read More

Today’s Truth

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16

Friend to Friend


We all want to be successful in our work. Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses. It doesn’t really matter because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place.


Many people never experience success in their work because they are in the wrong work to begin with. Not me. As a high school student, I knew exactly what I wanted to be – a nurse. My mother was a nurse, and I wanted to be just like her. So I signed up to

Read More

Today’s Truth

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me’

2 Corinthians 12:9

Friend to Friend


For many years, I did everything I possibly could to hide or erase any weakness in my life. When that didn’t work, I simply pretended that those weak areas didn’t exist. Why? Because if I was weak, how could Jesus love me? How could anyone love me? How could I love myself?


When our son, Jered, began to walk, I immediately noticed that his feet turned inward. Our pediatrician recommended a specialist who examined Jered thoroughly, then ordered several x-rays. The more he examined Jered, the more concerned we became. When the specialist finally called us in for a consultation, we braced ourselves for bad news … just in case. The doctor’s stoic face revealed nothing, but his diagnosis

Read More

Today’s Truth

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11

Friend to Friend


As a grandmother, I can testify to the importance of gates. Shortly after our grandson Hudson’s first birthday, he started to walk. He had been a champion crawler for several months – and he loved stairs. We just happened to live in a townhouse that had three flights of stairs, much to Hudson’s delight. Oh, we bought him toys, but they were nothing more than momentary distractions from his favorite toy – the stairs.


When Hudson first learned to climb up the stairs, we bought a gate to keep him from falling down those same stairs. I wondered how he would react to his new confinement. It didn’t take long to find out. When our daughter dropped him off

Read More

Today’s Truth

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1-2

Friend to Friend


I hate depression. It is an all-too-familiar foe in my life. I know. I am a grounded Christian and have walked with God for many years. I am a pastor’s wife … a Christian author and speaker. According to many people, I shouldn’t struggle with depression, but I do. It keeps me on my face before God. It keeps me broken and desperate for Him.


Thousands – seriously – thousands of people have prayed for me to be delivered and set free from this battle.


I continually search my heart, mind, and soul for some un-confessed sin.


I have sifted through my past and dealt with every painful memory God has brought to mind.


I have tried dozens of nutritional cures and

Read More

Today’s Truth

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Friend to Friend


Our son was born to be a builder. From the time he could hold a plastic red hammer in his toddler-sized hands, Jered began hammering imaginary nails into the coffee table, fixing everything that was broken in our house. No wooden surface in our home was safe from Jered’s scrutiny or design.


Since my husband enjoyed woodworking, he decided to build Jered a miniature workbench beside his own. Several nights each week, Dan and Jered headed to the garage to pound and hammer and do what they called “man stuff.” I thought it was cute – a philosophy that would drastically change in the years to come.


When he was in middle school, Jered built a clubhouse inside our garage.

Read More

Today’s Truth

I will give thanks to Your name for Your unfailing love and faithfulness, because Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your name.

Psalm 138:2

Friend to Friend


I love money-back guarantees. We once bought a car to replace a van that had 125,000 miles on it. Our first vacation in the new car was a disaster. We began having trouble the very first day. On our way home, we stopped in four different cities, trying to find a mechanic who could repair the car. No one could explain or even find the problem. Needless to say, we were not happy campers. But when we returned home and contacted the dealership, we were told that because of the guarantee on the car, we could get our money back or trade it in for another one. Loved it!


Did you know that every promise of God is backed

Read More

Today’s Truth

He (God) is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven.

Ephesians 1:7

Friend to Friend


One of our grandchildren is seven years old and desperately wants to learn how to maneuver Monkey Bars. “Mimi, will you take me to the park so I can practice?” Justus asked. “Absolutely, honey! Let’s do this!” I responded. I remembered how hard I worked to become the fastest girl on Monkey Bars when I was in first grade. I was certain I could help Justus, so off we went!


When we got to the playground, not another person was there. Perfect! I looked at Justus and said, “Show me what you have learned so far.” Justus grinned and started toward the bars. He then stopped and said, “I have only tried once, Mimi. You have a lot of

Read More

Today’s Truth

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Friend to Friend


For much of my life, I have battled fear. After surrendering my life to Christ, I assumed that I would no longer have to deal with fear. I soon realized that was not the case. I was confused. If God’s presence drives out fear, I must be doing something wrong.


The story is told of a little girl who developed the bad habit of lying. When her birthday came, she received a Saint Bernard puppy but told all of her friends she’d been given a lion. When her mother heard this story, she was not happy. “I told you not to lie. Honesty is very important. Now go upstairs and tell God you’re sorry. Promise Him you’ll never lie

Read More

Today’s Truth

How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 36:7

Friend to Friend


In the early days of the automobile, a man’s Model – T Ford stalled in the middle of the road. No matter what he tried, he couldn’t get it started. A chauffeured limousine pulled up behind the stalled car and a wiry, energetic man stepped from the back seat to offer his assistance.


After tinkering with the engine for a few moments, the stranger said, “Now try it!” Immediately, the engine leaped to life. The well-dressed man then identified himself as Henry Ford. “I designed and built these cars,” he said, “So I know what to do when something goes wrong.”


When our lives are broken, when the plan falls apart and everything goes wrong, we need to wait on

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Friend to Friend


Dan and I have one favorite restaurant where we like to eat on our weekly date night. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is quiet, and the waitress makes us feel like we are the most important people on the planet. It is a great place to relax, catch up and make plans for the future. We go to this restaurant for us. It’s our spot.


Our grandchildren have a different spot where they love to go. It is definitely not quiet; the food is geared more to the taste of children, and finding someone who works there is often what I consider a modern day miracle. Yep … you are way ahead of me. It is Chuck E.

Read More

Today’s Truth

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Friend to Friend


Watching our daughter introduce solid foods to our six-month-old grandson was an intriguing process to witness. I’m not sure if it was the texture or taste that surprised Justus, but the faces he made when that new food was first placed in his little mouth were hilarious. When he liked the new food, his eyes got big; he grinned and made a big smacking sound as if to say, “Where have you been keeping this stuff?” However, a few foods elicited a very different reaction. He scrunched up his face, turned his head and promptly spat out the offending food. Danna quickly learned the art of mixing foods in a single bite and also learned the same food

Read More

Today’s Truth

Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.

2 Corinthians 1:12

Friend to Friend


I am always amazed by how much training Olympic athletes are willing to invest in order to win a medal. If Christians were willing to make the same kind of investment in running the race of life, I believe the world would be a vastly different place. How important you consider a race to be influences how hard you will run it, and determines the goals you set in order to win that race.


I believe every follower of Christ should have clear life goals based on clear spiritual truths. Many Christians are floundering because they have no spiritual goals. If you want your relationship with God to be motivating, it has to be making progress, accomplishing something, and

Read More

Today’s Truth

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

Mark 10:15

Friend to Friend


I recently read the story of a young family who went out to eat at a local restaurant. They were the only family with children eating. The mom sat their little boy, Erik, in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, “Hi!” He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin as he wriggled and giggled with joy.


The mother looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man wearing baggy pants and shoes so worn that his toes poked out. His shirt was dirty and his

Read More

Today’s Truth

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Proverbs 25:11

Friend to Friend


Fruit is one of my favorite foods. When I go grocery shopping, it always takes me longer to get through the fruit section than any other area of the store. I spend what some might consider a ridiculously long time picking out what I hope will be the juiciest apples, the plumpest grapes and the sweetest bananas. Experience has taught me to quickly discard any piece of fruit that is bruised, mushy or discolored. I shake cantaloupe and thump watermelons. Ripe strawberries have a unique sweet scent and only the reddest cherries will do. Plums and tomatoes must be firm to the touch, bright in color and wrinkle-free while the more wrinkles the better when it comes to choosing

Read More

Today’s Truth

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Friend to Friend


Faith is the quiet certainty that God keeps His promises. If you are like me, you don’t like to wait on God with “quiet certainty.” We see a need, and instead of seeking God’s wisdom and timing, we make a plan we think will meet that need and then, with earthly resources, make sure the plan is executed. As a result, we often settle for so much less than God had in mind.


Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).


Many children seem to possess the “quiet certainty” that God is able. The prayer life

Read More

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Friend to Friend


I promised myself that I would never buy a house that was a “fixer-upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was – buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.


I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls and

Read More

Today’s Truth

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:8

Friend to Friend


A group of four-through eight-year-olds was asked: “What does love mean?” Their answers vary from the amusing to the profound.


Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne, and they go out and smell each other.


Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.


Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.


When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.


Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.


When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.

Read More

Today’s Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Friend to Friend


I love being a grandmother and work hard at finding any excuse to spend time with our grandchildren. I am convinced they keep me young. I also know they are some of my greatest teachers.


Several years ago, I visited our son and daughter-in-law in Charlotte, North Carolina because four of our six grandchildren live with them. Two of the four are twins. As you can imagine, life is anything but dull as Jered and Jodi try to keep up four children – especially the twins. Lelia, a vivacious little bundle of energy with bouncy blonde curls, blue eyes, and a killer smile, and her twin brother, Jaydan, whose blue eyes and dimples could charm the warts right off

Read More

Today’s Truth

Being with You will fill me with joy; at Your right hand I will find pleasure forever.

Psalm 16:11

Friend to Friend


Our seven-year-old grandson was very sick and in the hospital for seven days. Justus had both a bacterial infection as well as a serious viral infection. His fever spiked to 106 every night for five days and for three of those nights he was listed code red as his heart rate increased and his oxygen levels decreased.


The doctors from Infectious Disease scrambled to figure out which bacteria were causing Justus’ illness. Finally, after four days of all questions and no answers, they switched antibiotics and Justus finally began to improve. We all cheered when his fever only reached 102! And I took my first breath since the moment he got sick.


Our daughter and son-in-law stayed with Justus day

Read More

Today’s Truth

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.

John 3:16

Friend to Friend


It was Christmas Eve and the family was preparing to attend the church service. Everyone was going, everyone except Dad. He was an honest man, a good man, but he simply could neither understand nor accept the seemingly complex story of the baby in a manger born to save the world. It was just too far- fetched for the human mind to conceive.


How could God allow His Son to give up Heaven for Earth?


Why would Jesus want to die for any man?


The questions lingered and, not wanting to be a hypocrite, the man chose to stay home rather than sit in a church pew one time a year with an unbelieving heart.


As his family went out into the

Read More

Today’s Truth

If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.

Luke 6:38

Friend to Friend


Have you discovered the truth that we simply cannot “out-give” God? The more we give, the more we receive. And that truth does not just apply to financial giving. It is really all about the attitude behind the gift. Do you remember the Christmas gifts you received last year? How about the Christmas gifts you gave? What about the gift you gave Jesus? Yesterday we talked about several meaningful gifts you can give. Here are a few more for you to consider.


A gift of care   Galatians 6:2 (RSV) “Bear one another’s burdens.”


Christmas is a time of empty hopes and fierce loneliness for many people. In fact, the holidays can be nothing more than a season riddled with pain.

Read More

Today’s Truth

If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.

Luke 6:38

Friend to Friend


The world would like us to believe that the success of Christmas depends upon how much we spend, how many presents we give, or how many presents we receive. Christmas is about giving, but price tags do not determine the success of our giving. Giving is not dependent on the condition of our checkbook. Giving is dependent on the condition of our heart. I am so glad! Like you, we have to plan carefully what we buy and how much we spend on each gift. As a result, we have discovered some creative ways to give gifts from the heart, meaningful gifts that cost very little.


A homemade gift


In 1 Corinthians 4:12 Paul teaches that we should “work hard

Read More

Today’s Truth

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Friend to Friend


As a high school junior, I decided it was time to take Homemaking 101. I can still see Mrs. Johnson’s face as she naively gazed at her new students. Bless her unsuspecting heart! She had no idea the challenge I brought to that class or to her career as a teacher. For weeks, I muddled through each lesson with a respectable, but less than stellar performance, until we hit the section on sewing. It would prove to be her undoing where I was concerned.


Being the veteran teacher that she was, Mrs. Johnson took a deep breath and doggedly plunged ahead in determination, vowing she could teach anyone to sew – even me. I decided to make a

Read More

Today’s Truth

If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

Friend to Friend


We will never experience the life God wants us to live until we are ready to honestly face and deal with our sin. I mean the kind of honesty that shines a spotlight in every dark corner of our hearts. Getting real. Getting honest. Going all in with God – like the people of Nineveh did.


God sent Jonah to Nineveh with a message – and it was a doozy! Jonah told the Ninevites they had 40 days to clean up their act and get their lives in order, or God would destroy their city.


When the King of Nineveh heard Jonah’s message, he took it seriously. The King first addressed the sin in his own heart. He then vacated

Read More

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Friend to Friend


Do you remember the last words of Jesus as He hung on the cross? “It is finished!” The most literal translation would be “paid in full.”


I will never forget paying off my very first car loan. After sending in my forty-eighth and final payment, I celebrated the fact that I finally owned my bright blue and ever-so-compact Chevrolet Vega – from bumper to bumper. There were those who said you couldn’t drive a Vega – you had to wear it. Others described the bright color as strangely “unique.” But to me, it was the most beautiful car in the world because it was mine.


I quickly found other places to spend the once allocated car payment and went on

Read More

Today’s Truth

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 106:1

Friend to Friend


In homes across America, friends and family will soon gather around beautifully decorated tables filled with warm, scrumptious food to give thanks. It’s Thanksgiving Day. However, this day will be nothing like holidays of the past for many people.


Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle will patrol foreign borders, fighting for our freedom while their families back home long for word of their safety. The homeless will make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face as so many celebrate this day of abundance. An empty place at the table will be a painful reminder of the loved one lost. A worried husband and dad will sit

Read More

Today’s Truth

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Friend to Friend


While I am not a big fan of television, I do enjoy watching a few select home improvement shows. Chip and Joanna Gaines are my two new best friends, and the Property Brothers simply rock! A new fixer-upper show caught my eye, so I checked it out. An interior decorator and homeowner were discussing a list of changes that needed to be made in order to update the home.


“First, we have to do something about those windows,” the decorator announced. I was surprised she listed this task first – until I saw the house. The existing glass was thick and chunky and an ugly shade of something in the neighborhood of mustard. The windows let in no light

Read More

Today’s Truth

The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3

Friend to Friend


We once had an Australian cattle dog named Dallas. Australian cattle dogs are extremely loyal to a master of their choice. Dallas chose our son Jered to be his master. When Jered came home from school each day, Dallas would greet him at the door and follow him wherever he went. If Jered did homework in his room, Dallas curled under the desk. When Jered ran an errand, Dallas rode shotgun. Dallas instinctively knew that the only place he would find genuine rest was at the feet of his master. The same is true in our lives. But … I am not very good at this rest thing.


Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality

Read More

Today’s Truth

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Proverbs 11:3

Friend to Friend


On a recent flight, I was thumbing through a magazine someone left behind when the title of an article caught my eye. “Image is everything” the author declared. For a few seconds, I found myself actually agreeing with the author’s statement.


And then the Holy Spirit whispered, “Attitude check!” I knew what that meant. I needed to straighten up and pay attention because something was wrong. And then I saw it – the subtle lie expertly hidden in the seemingly benign words. It was from the pit and smelled like smoke!


As followers of Christ, we sometimes focus on developing and presenting the right image while neglecting the spiritual discipline of integrity. What we wear, how we look, the people

Read More

Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort!

2 Corinthians 1:3

Friend to Friend


Tears streamed down my face as I held our seven-year-old grandson, watching him sleep. “Mimi, please lay down with me. Let’s snuggle. I’m so cold,” he asked. I would do anything for this child. He has my heart.


The beeping machines recorded his heart rate, oxygen level … and other vital statistics that simply underscored how sick Justus was. His temperature had risen to 106 but now hovered around 104. The lymph glands in his neck continued to swell to the point that he could not turn his head or open his mouth. Test results confirmed the fact that he had a bacterial infection and a viral infection.


I heard him scream as they tried to draw blood. I held

Read More

Today’s Truth

When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’

Luke 13:12

Friend to Friend


Have you ever wondered if God even knows your name? Have you doubted His concern about what you are going through? Have you felt totally alone and worthless? I have. I can really relate to the woman described in Luke 13. Oh, our problems may not be exactly the same, but the feelings and emotions are – and so is the answer.


Jesus knew this woman. He knew she had been sick for 18 long years and that she had tried everything to be healed. He knew – but He looked past her pain and saw who she really was. He could have called her by name, but instead He said, “Woman.” Jesus included her whole identity in that

Read More

Today’s Truth

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:12

Friend to Friend


I once heard a story that offers a great prescription for joy. A young believer came to a man who had followed Christ for many years with the complaint that he had lost his joy. The older and wiser Christian responded, “Go do something for someone else. Repeat that act of kindness nine times. Then you will find joy.”


When we develop the habit of looking for a need and then meeting that need, we will experience joy as never before. Many times, instead of looking for a need, we look the other way.


One of the most amazing paradoxes in the Christian life is that the more we give, the more we receive. We simply cannot out-give God!


In Luke

Read More

Today’s Truth

The prospect of the righteous is joy.

Proverbs 10:28

Friend to Friend


We all want to live a joy-filled life – right? But it seems that everyone has their own definition of joy and their own plan for how to experience joy.


A pastor told the story of a lesson he learned when he casually wished one of his older church members a good day. The man remarked, “They’re all good days, Pastor. It’s what we put in them that determines the amount of joy we experience.”


Joy is the deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. When our life is under the control of God, priorities fall into place, life is simpler, and we can experience true joy.


Proverbs 10:28 tells us, “The prospect of the righteous is joy.” In this

Read More

Today’s Truth

‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered. ‘Bring them here to me,’ He (Jesus) said. And He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:17-21

Friend to Friend


The feeding of the 5,000 is one of my favorite Bible stories. Aside from the resurrection, it is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels … and what a miracle it was!


Jesus borrowed a little boy’s lunch. Feeding 5,000 people with just five loaves and two fish was extraordinary in itself, but the Greek word used in Matthew 14:21 refers to males. The women and children present were not included in that number. Many Bible scholars believe the actual number fed that day could have been between 15,000 and 20,000 people. Absolutely amazing!


The setting for this miracle is important. Jesus and the disciples had been ministering to the crowds all day. It was getting late, and they

Read More

Today’s Truth

Then people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them.

Matthew 19:13

Friend to Friend


Praying for the people we love is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. And letting those people know we are praying for them is an important part of that gift. I was recently reminded that this truth applies to children as well.


Two of our grandchildren live in Kansas City, so we get to seem them every few days. My husband and I love it and are always looking for opportunities to spend time with them.


We invited Justus and Hudson over to meet our new worship pastor and his wife who have a set of triplets and a little boy about the age of Hudson. We turned all of the kids loose in our fenced-in back

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Friend to Friend


Pain and crisis are familiar companions in my life. A close friend recently told me our family should do a reality television show because no one would believe what we deal with on a daily basis.


Can you relate?


The reality is that we live in a broken world. Trials and trouble are a byproduct of that broken world. I have repeatedly pleaded with God for an exemption clause, but there doesn’t seem to be one – this side of Heaven. However, I have discovered an amazing truth that makes it easier to face every shattering moment that lies ahead.


Isaiah 45:3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am

Read More

Today’s Truth

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:35

Friend to Friend


Grandchildren often remind me how to find joy in the simple things of life. When our twin grandchildren were about two years old, I took them on a little shopping trip. When Mimi comes for a visit, there is always a shopping trip on the agenda. Lelia and Jaydan piled into the car, and we headed to the store. I think I was more excited than they were. That’s how grandmothers are.


Once inside the store, we grabbed a shopping cart, and off we went in search of treasures. In other words, we needed toys!


As we headed to the toy section of the store, we passed the pharmacy – which reminded me that I needed to pick up some vitamins.

Read More

Today’s Truth

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:2

Friend to Friend


Christmas morning is serious business at the Southerland home. The sequence of events does not vary. First come the stockings. Everyone has a bulging stocking spilling over with small gifts.


And I am not talking about just any old stocking stuffers. I listen and question and watch our children and grandchildren all year long to see what makes their eyes sparkle and their faces light up.


I keep an ever-evolving Christmas list. No one knows where I keep it. And no one ever will if I can help it. I begin buying stocking stuffers and gifts each summer, and I stash them in secret hiding places around the house. I told you … serious business!


After the stockings are opened, we

Read More

Today’s Truth

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed.

Proverbs 11:25

Friend to Friend


It all started with a swimsuit. I had to buy one. Dan and I were joining our kids and grandkids for a week of family vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. The beach, a swimming pool, and water parks were on the agenda, and I wanted to do them all!


Ladies, I know you can understand my feelings of terror at the thought of having to find a swimsuit that actually fits and looks good on me. I had two days before we left, and both of those days were crammed full – appointments, meetings, and writing deadlines stared me in the face.


I prayed. Yes. I. Did. I asked God to help me find the right swimsuit. It had to

Read More

Today’s Truth

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:"‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

Job 1:20-21

Friend to Friend


Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father, and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain, and despair was even more powerful.


Did Job doubt and question God?


Absolutely!


Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain?


Yes!


But Job remained faithful to God, even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering.


Job stood firm in his faith even when his heart and body was broken. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.


The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first (Job 42:11).


You are no stranger to

Read More

Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Friend to Friend


It was Easter Sunday, and I was sitting in the sanctuary waiting for the worship service to begin. Anticipating a large crowd, I arrived early to drop Jered off in the nursery, one of his favorite places to go since every nursery worker doted on him. As the choir filed in, a friend slipped into the pew beside me and said, “I think you need to go to the nursery. Something is wrong with Jered.” Jumping up, I leapt over legs, toes, and pews as I raced to the church nursery and my son.


When I got to the nursery, I was not prepared for what I saw. In a far corner, lying on his favorite red mat was

Read More

Today’s Truth

So do not be foolish with your lives. But learn what the Lord wants you to do.

Ephesians 5:17

Friend to Friend


There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience – and that is not learning from experience. Life is a journey, not a destination. It is through that journey that we are born, broken, changed and shaped.


Life is God’s chosen classroom in which He teaches His children how to love and live out His truth. One of the first and most vital truths we need to learn in our walk with God is obedience.


Truth does not change. We must change in response to the truth. A learned truth is an applied truth, and when we apply truth, we are practicing obedience. When we don’t learn from our wrong choices, we are doomed to make the same

Read More

Today’s Truth

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Friend to Friend


I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “I know God promises to never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Can you relate?


When trials come and life seems hard, we plead with God to deliver us from the problem when many times His plan is to deliver us in the problem.


Praise does not depend on an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends on an understanding of who God really is and wants to be in our life, and on our willingness to put our faith in Him.


As humans, we will never fully understand God – this side of heaven. God is holy and without

Read More

Today’s Truth

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart … If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

Psalm 91:1-4, 9-10

Friend to Friend


Corrie Ten Boom tells the true story of young Englishman who was held prisoner in a German prion camp for a long period of time during World War II. One day he read Psalm 91 and fell to his knees in prayer.


“Father in heaven,” he prayed. “I see all these men dying around me, one after the other. Will I also have to die here? I am still young and I very much want to work in Your kingdom here on earth.”


God spoke to his heart, “Rely on what you have just read and go home.”


Trusting God, the young Englishman got up and walked into the corridor toward the gate.


A guard called out, “Prisoner, where are you going?”


“I

Read More

Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Friend to Friend


Dan and I have traveled to many foreign countries on mission trips. Our family vacations have taken us across the United States … but we had never been to Yellowstone National Park and had only driven through Montana on our way to another state. So when I booked a speaking engagement in Gardner, Montana, we decided to take a few days following the event for a mini-vacation.


It did not take us long to fall in love with Montana. We flew into Billings and made our way to Gardner where we had booked a hotel. The drive was spectacular. The hotel was rustic and quaint, and the people could not have been nicer.


But Yellowstone National Park was unlike anything

Read More

Today’s Truth

For the Lord searches every heart, and understands every desire and every thought.

1 Chronicles 28:9

Friend to Friend


I have several roles in life. I am a wife, a mother, an author, a speaker … the list is really quite impressive. But being Mimi to our six grandchildren hovers around the top of that list. So when the phone rang, and I heard the sweet voice of our grandson Justus ask, “Mimi, can you and Papa come to my school for Grandparent’s Day?” I did not even have to look at my calendar. Whatever appointments I might have had could be moved in a heartbeat. “We would love to, buddy!” I replied.


When Dan and I arrived, Justus’ teacher, Mrs. Fox, greeted us and told us to look around. Since I taught elementary school for several years

Read More

Today’s Truth

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

Philemon 1:7

Friend to Friend


I recently read about an African tribe that has what we might consider an unusual approach for dealing with people who make mistakes. When a member of this tribe does something wrong, they take the person to the center of the village where the tribe surrounds him. For two days, they remind him of the good things he has done. The tribe believes that mistakes are often a cry for help, and hope to provide that help through the layers of encouragement they freely give.


Dan began making wooden furniture when we lived in South Florida. My job was to stain and finish the pieces after he had completed them. I had never worked with wood or stain and

Read More

Today’s Truth

“In your anger, do not sin.”

Ephesians 4:26

Friend to Friend


The people around us want to see what happens when life pushes our buttons and anger puts the squeeze on our emotions. While God created us with the capacity for strong emotions, it is our responsibility to control them instead of allowing them to control us. Yesterday, we looked at four ways to manage anger. Here are four more:


Be focused.  


Psalm 37:8 “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath.”


I have witnessed the utter strength and beauty of our daughter and daughter-in-law as they gave birth to our beautiful grandchildren. The pain was excruciating, but both worked through each contraction by doing two things: controlling their breathing and choosing a focus point. We need to do the same when

Read More

Today’s Truth

“In your anger, do not sin.”

Ephesians 4:26

Friend to Friend


We live in a very angry world. Road rage … suicide bombings … random shootings … bullies terrorize their victims online and in schools … acts of violence fill the news every day. The reality is that everyone has to deal with anger. The challenge is to deal with anger in the right way. Anger is powerful – an emotional warning that something is wrong. We have been hurt or rejected. Something has changed, and we don’t like it!


Anger itself is not sin. We just have to learn to express anger in the right way. Mishandled anger is destructive, but anger that is handled correctly can become a tool for good. God’s Word is filled with tips for

Read More

Today’s Truth

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19

Friend to Friend


I graduated from college with a degree in elementary education. For the first two years of college, I took the basic courses in Math, English, History, and Science required for all degrees. I then began taking courses that I assumed would prepare me to teach elementary school. During my last year of school, I reached the required Student Teaching block.


The Student Teaching block was spent in an actual elementary classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher. Mrs. Roberta McShan was my supervising teacher and a magician in the classroom. She taught third grade and soon became my role model as a teacher. I learned more about teaching in that one semester than I had learned in all

Read More

Today’s Truth

He (Jesus) replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

Friend to Friend


I am not a quitter! What some might call stubbornness, I prefer to call perseverance – especially when it comes to growing flowers and plants.


We recently downsized and moved to a house with a small wooden deck in the back yard. I took one look at that deck and could almost hear it crying out for beautiful plants spilling over the edges of brightly colored ceramic planters. My stubbornness … uh, perseverance … kicked in, and I thought, “I can do this!”


I headed to the local nursery where they know me. And by “know me” I mean they understand that I can kill just about any living plant known to mankind.


Linda greeted me with a smile. Linda and

Read More

Today’s Truth

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’

Psalm 91:1-2

Friend to Friend


Babies fascinate me. They are so fresh from God. And have so much to learn! Think about it. Babies come into this world knowing nothing. For starters, they have to learn how to roll over, how to sit up, and eventually the biggie – learning to walk.


I had forgotten just how amazing the process of learning to walk really is until our grandson Justus reminded me. Justus was a speed crawler who could scoot along the floor almost as fast as I could walk. For the first 12 months of his life, Justus seemed content to explore the bottoms of tables and chairs, play with doorstops or inspect food crumbs on the floor.


But the day came when he

Read More

Today’s Truth

You have not because you do not ask God.

James 4:2

Friend to Friend


I was behind … tired … and stressed out. I had too many irons in the fire and too many writing deadlines staring me in the face. So when my husband Dan asked if he could do anything to help, I said, “Sure! You can write one of the Girlfriends in God devotions I need to turn in tomorrow.” I didn’t really think he would do it. But he did. And God used it to smack me right between the eyes. I just had to share it with you!


There are so things I absolutely adore about my wife of forty years. She is my best friend, the best mom I have ever known, and the walking definition of

Read More

Today’s Truth

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

Friend to Friend


I will never forget the day I learned how God really can turn tragedy into triumph. I was sitting at my desk, working on an assignment from the counselor I had been seeing. For months I had been wrestling with my past – slowly, methodically working through painful issues and buried memories that seemed to be feeding the clinical depression I was battling. As page after page filled with harsh realities, a memory slammed into my heart and mind.


I grew up in a small Texas town where we lived in what some would call a “shack” on the edge of town. My mother worked three jobs to support three children, but her main job was as a nurse.


I

Read More

Today’s Truth

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Friend to Friend


Dan and I have been all over the United States and the world … but we had never been to Montana. So when I booked a speaking engagement there, we decided to take a few days following the event for a mini-vacation.


We fell in love with Montana! The event was amazing! The leadership, preparation, and prayer that had gone into the planning of the conference blessed me in a huge way. I knew before the doors opened that God was all over it. And I was so right! God’s presence was powerful as 12 women surrendered their lives to Him and dozens of others made fresh commitments that would forever change their lives! So I was already flying

Read More

Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friend to Friend


Three ministers were talking about prayer and the most effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman worked silently in the background.


One minister shared that he felt the key to powerful prayer was in the hands. “I always hold my hands together and point them upward as a sign of worship,” he explained.


The second minister suggested that real prayer should always be conducted on the knees.


The third minister shook his head and said, “I’m afraid you both have it wrong. The only position worth its salt is to pray while stretched out flat on your face.”


As the three ministers solemnly contemplated the wisdom they had shared, the phone man put down his tools, approached the

Read More

Today’s Truth

For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son … and having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself.

Romans 8:29-30

Friend to Friend


Most people recognize the familiar line from every Mission Impossible movie,  “Your mission…  should you choose to accept it …”


God asks us the same question. We have a God-given mission. We are called by God to be a blessing in the world where we live, work, and play. But we choose to accept or reject that mission every single day.


Sometimes the call of God seems to make no sense … almost ridiculous. Gideon felt that way when God called him.


Gideon was a farmer, a family man just trying to earn a living and put food on the table. He felt inadequate to carry out God’s plan for his life.


But God saw what Gideon could be … not just

Read More

Today’s Truth

He (God) is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven

Ephesians 1:7

Friend to Friend


It had been a rough afternoon for Hudson, our four-year-old grandson. Dan and I were keeping him and his brother Justus for a few days while our daughter and son-in-law were out of town. I know. It’s a rough job, but somebody has to do it.


I had spent a week getting ready for their visit. The checklist was complete!


The refrigerator, pantry, and snack drawer were filled with their favorite foods.


The toys were assembled and ready for action.


The bed in our guestroom was piled high with extra pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals waiting to be hugged.


Favorite books were stacked beside their bed for naps and bedtime imaginations.


Now all we needed were the boys! When we went to pick them

Read More

Today’s Truth

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Friend to Friend


I taught third grade for several years while my husband Dan attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. I was fortunate to be assigned to one of the largest and best elementary schools in town. My class was one of seven third-grade classes.


Anyone who has ever taught school knows that the first few days of school are always chaotic.


The PE teacher was a welcome sight when she appeared at my door to take the students out to the playground. After PE it was the responsibility of each teacher to pick up her students. Seven teachers trying to get the attention of over 200 students was especially interesting on the first or second day of school when the teachers

Read More

Today’s Truth

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

Luke 10:40-42

Friend to Friend


I had a list of things to get done. Yes, my back was killing me. I was tired, but that list kept me hurrying around the house like the proverbial Energizer Bunny. When my husband walked in from work, I gave him a quick hug and resumed my almost frantic pace.


“What are you doing, honey?” Dan asked. With one of my famous sighs, I responded, “I just need to get a few things done.” “How is your back?” Dan persisted. With growing irritation, I answered, “It hurts!” Dan watched me for a few minutes and then calmly stated, “You don’t know how to sit down, do you?” My first response was irritation, which quickly escalated into anger –

Read More

Today’s Truth

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7

Friend to Friend


My husband often says there are two kinds of people in the world. Some people have ulcers, and some people give them. Can you relate? I certainly can.


Sandpaper people are definitely ulcer giving people unless we learn to choose peace over worry when dealing with them. Getting along with people who rub you the wrong way is difficult at best and can sometimes make peace seem impossible to find. That is only true if peace is dependent on outer circumstances.


It isn’t.


Peace is an inside job and comes only from God. Nothing can take the place of peace, and it is impossible to counterfeit.


Sandpaper people are not peaceful people. One of the very reasons they are rough around the

Read More

Today’s Truth

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’

John 5:1-6

Friend to Friend


A mess is the perfect setting for a miracle. Our helplessness can be our most powerful offering – if we are willing to be honest and transparent. Sometimes it is a lot easier to just stay in the darkness than it is to struggle toward the light.


Not everyone really wants to be healed or rescued. Why?


Because their infirmity has become their identity or because their crisis now defines who they are and forms the familiar parameters of their life. Some people use their weaknesses to get the attention they crave or to keep from assuming any responsibility in their own lives.


Take the man at the pool of Bethesda for example.


The pool of Bethesda was the gathering place for

Read More

Today’s Truth

Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin.

Proverbs 13:3

Friend to Friend


I recently received an email from a friend who told me the story of a private school in Washington that faced an unusual problem. Some of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would gather around the mirrors in the bathroom to compare shades and apply their lipstick.


The girls thought it was cute to then press their lips to the bathroom mirrors, leaving dozens of lip prints. The maintenance man did not think it was cute because he had to clean the mirrors – and you know how icky lipstick on a mirror can be.


Every night the maintenance man would remove the lipstick prints only to find that the girls put them back the next day.


The principal

Read More

Today’s Truth

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Friend to Friend


I was physically exhausted and had let my guard down. The minute I let my guard down, the enemy moved in with a vengeance. My unguarded heart was in trouble, wounded by the words of someone I love.


I knew what I needed to do – deal with the hurt, forgive the one who had hurt me, and let go of the pain. I just didn’t want to do it. And God calls that sin.


If you did not read yesterday’s devotion about my husband’s defibrillator, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do that now.


As surely as that beeping defibrillator grabbed Dan’s attention, the Holy Spirit grabbed mine. I examined my life for ways to guard my

Read More

Today’s Truth

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19

Friend to Friend


It had been a very long day. My husband and I were both tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep – but we needed to talk. We didn’t have any major concerns or problems to discuss; we just wanted to catch up on life and unwind a little bit.


Dan was telling me about his day when he suddenly stopped, looked around and asked, “What was that beeping sound?” I hadn’t heard anything but suggested that the smoke detector battery probably needed replacing.


“It was a different kind of beeping,” Dan insisted. We listened – nothing. We turned out the lights and went to sleep, and I forgot all about the elusive beeping.


When Dan came home from work

Read More

Today’s Truth

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Friend to Friend


My husband was determined to teach me how to fish … whether I wanted to learn or not. We were on vacation with our two children and everyone was getting in on Dan’s fishing lessons.


Danna had already announced that she would never – under any circumstances – touch a worm or a fish. Dan and Jered promised to bait her hook and reel in any fish she caught. I knew what they were thinking: the possibility of Danna actually learning how to cast a line or catch a fish was so remote that they had nothing to fear. They could not have been more wrong.


The fish seemed to jump on Danna’s hook. She squealed with excitement as she

Read More

Today’s Truth

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James 1:2-5

Friend to Friend 


We live in a broken world where bad things happen. While we cannot always control the things that happen to us or to those around us, we can control how we respond to painful circumstances. If we want to handle hurt in a way that pleases God, we have to make the right choices.


One of the most important choices we must make is to choose humility over pride. And that is a tough one. You may be wondering what humility could possibly have to do with learning how to handle hurt. We cannot handle hurt until we are willing to admit that we are hurting. Why is that so hard to do? I believe it is because of our pride. We should be able

Read More

Today’s Truth

He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.

Isaiah 40:29

Friend to Friend
I love a great movie! To me, a movie is great when good wins over evil, the right guy gets the right girl, nobody gets hurt and everyone lives happily ever after. A bit naive, I know. But I have decided that there is enough harsh reality ripping through daily life without paying to see more on a movie screen.


With these criteria in mind, I went to see the movie “Sea Biscuit.” There I was; popcorn in hand, minding my own business and enjoying my brief respite, when his words slammed into my soul, yanking me back to the tenacious essence and interminable power of truth.


“You don’t throw a whole life away just because it’s banged up a little.”


I was

Read More

Today’s Truth

Jesus said, ‘My purpose is to give life in all its fullness’

John 10:10

Friend to Friend


I have discovered some wonderful advantages to growing older. Honestly, I can get away with so much more than I could when I was younger – and I have to say that I love it!


Like many of you, I have paid some heavy life dues. I am enjoying a refreshing freedom in what I say and do – as long as I say and do it in love and with integrity before God.


I am flat-out amazed by the fact that people value my advice. They actually think I know what I am doing. Hilarious! I know!


But I am thrilled to share the lessons and God-truths I have learned along the way, and I am also free to occasionally

Read More

Today’s Truth

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

John 10:10

Friend to Friend


I must be getting older because I have six grandchildren. And they really do say the most hilarious things – sometimes. Other times, their words can absolutely nail me to the wall and put life in perspective in a split second.


A few weeks ago I was keeping our three-year-old grandson Hudson while our daughter took his older brother to the doctor. Hudson has strawberry-blonde hair, blue eyes, a killer smile … and he loves to snuggle. I know. It’s a deadly combination.


After Danna and Justus left, Hudson crawled up in my lap and just grinned at me. Then he began to gently rub my face with his little hand. My heart just melted. He was probably thinking what

Read More

Today’s Truth

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the LORD, your God.

Isaiah 45:3

Friend to Friend


Life can be so irritating. It’s usually the little things that annoy me the most. The lost set of keys or the misplaced cell phone. The icemaker that quits working before a party … the little things.


But then there are times when people are the problem. They show up without an invitation or call when I am running out the door, late for an appointment. Been there?


I am convinced that these tiny irritations are a tool in the hand of a loving Father who uses them as “heavenly sandpaper” to rub off our rough edges.


I was invited to speak for a women’s conference based on the theme, “Pearls of Wisdom.” When I arrived at the conference center, every

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Friend to Friend


I remember that night well. It was so many years ago, but it seems like yesterday. And what a crazy day it had been! Probably a day like many of yours.


I was a young mom with two small children. My husband was the youth pastor of a large church in town. I taught a weekly Bible study for senior high girls and directed a youth choir that practiced one night a week and sang for the early worship service every Sunday. We hosted a youth bible study in our home every Monday night … and, well, you get the idea. My schedule was almost to the point of ridiculous and I was exhausted most of the time. But

Read More

Today’s Truth

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 59:16

Friend to Friend


I will never forget the first time I took our two-year-old son to the beach. I assumed Jered would take one look at the ocean and make a beeline for the water. We lived in South Florida at the time where many of the people we knew either had a swimming pool or lived on a canal that literally ran through their backyard. Since the tropical climate made it possible for Jered to play outside almost every day of the year, it was not unusual for him to be around water of some kind on a regular basis.


Just to be sure the trip was successful, I did what I thought was a fairly impressive job of preparing Jered

Read More

Today’s Truth

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Friend to Friend


My husband has had heart problems for years. So I know a lot about irregular heartbeats, cardio versions, heart ablations and defibrillators. We assumed his symptoms were heart related – shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness and inability to climb even a few stairs without wheezing. But when all of the usual tests his cardiologist ordered came back normal, a sliver of fear took root in my heart.


We went to our primary care doctor who ordered a whole new battery of tests. The results of those tests said that Dan had ILD. We were stunned.


Lung disease was a game changer. I had never heard of Interstitial Lung Disease … but it did not sound good. And the more

Read More

Today’s Truth

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Song of Songs 8:6

Friend to Friend


Shakespeare described jealousy as a “green-eyed monster.” I once heard it called “the gangrene of the soul.” Jealousy is usually thought of as a negative trait we need to guard against. But with God, jealousy takes on a whole new meaning.


God is a jealous God.


The root idea in the Old Testament word jealous is to become intensely red, referring to the way our face changes color with rising emotion when something or someone very dear to us is threatened. Both the Old and New Testament words for jealousy are translated “zeal.”


In other words, being jealous and being zealous is basically the same thing in the Bible. God is zealous – eager about protecting what is precious to Him.

Read More

Today’s Truth

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2

Friend to Friend


I am an avid reader. In fact, reading is one of my favorite ways to escape the chaotic pace of daily life. I also enjoy browsing through bookstores, especially the ones that provide cushy chairs where customers can sit quietly and read without being disturbed.


It is easy to tune out your surroundings and lose yourself in the pages of a good book. I was doing just that when I heard a familiar voice. Looking up, I spotted one of my friends, Carol, who was asking an employee where she could find a new suspense novel that had just been released. The young man quickly handed Carol the book from his personal stash behind the counter and went back

Read More

Today’s Truth

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:20

Friend to Friend


When we lived in South Florida, the grass in our yard grew year round. So did the weeds. We soon learned that the best way to deal with weeds was simply to take really good care of the grass. When the grass was healthy, it was thick and lush – leaving little room for weeds to grow.


When our hearts and lives are filled with praise, worry is a weed that will die from lack of attention. When we choose to continually give God thanks, there will be little room in our hearts for fear.


Why?


Because praise acknowledges the very character of God, while thanksgiving recognizes the work of His hand. Together, praise and thanksgiving are powerful weapons against worry

Read More

Today’s Truth

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Galatians 6:9

Friend to Friend


The story is told of a great pianist who was scheduled to perform for a small country town. Everyone was excited since they rarely had the opportunity to hear a famous musician. A young mother was especially excited. Her son had been taking piano lessons and showed great promise … but he hated to practice. His mother was hoping that if her son saw the great pianist perform, he would be motivated to take his music more seriously.


The night of the concert finally arrived, and it seemed as if everyone in town had come. As the young mother settled her son in his seat, her attention turned to the crowd pouring in. Everyone was dressed in their finest,

Read More

Today’s Truth

I'm sure you have heard about the Good News for the people of Israel - that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Acts 10:36

Friend to Friend


I love the story of the little girl who was working very hard on her homework one night. As the hours went by, her parents became very curious and asked her what she was doing. “I’m writing a report on the condition of the world and how to bring peace,” she replied. Her parents were impressed! “Isn’t that a big assignment for just one person?” her dad asked. With complete confidence the little girl responded, “Don’t worry, Dad. There are three of us in the class working on it.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if finding and experiencing peace was that easy?


We work hard at peace – in our world, in our homes, in our relationships, and in our

Read More

Today’s Truth

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:32

Friend to Friend


A little boy went to see the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. When he arrived, he pointed up at the monument and announced to the guard on duty, “I want to buy it.” The guard asked, “How much money do you have?”


The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. The guard said, “That is not enough.” The little boy replied, “I thought you would say that” and pulled out nine more cents.


The guard looked down at the small boy and said, “You need to understand three things. First, thirty-four cents is not enough. Second, the Washington Monument has never been, nor will it ever be for sale. Third, if you are an American citizen, then

Read More

Today’s Truth

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.

Psalm 34:15

Friend to Friend


Pastor James Moore of Houston, Texas tells the story of a young man whose wife died, leaving him with a small son to raise alone. After a beautiful and moving memorial service, the young man and his son returned home from the cemetery.


Family and friends had all gone home. The man was lost. Numb with grief, he decided he and his son would go to bed early because there was nothing else he could bear to do.


After tucking the little boy into bed, the young father laid in the darkness – heartbroken and weeping – wondering how he could go on without his wife beside him. The voice of his son broke through the darkness with a haunting

Read More

Today’s Truth

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.

Psalm 40:1-2

Friend to Friend


We have several choices about how to deal with the pain and darkness in life. We can become bitter and blame God or someone else for the pain, or we can give up and wallow in the mire and mud of that slimy pit.


At one point in my life, I simply plastered a smile on my face, gritted my teeth, and denied that the pit even existed. Not a good choice.


I eventually learned that the choice I should make when it comes to dealing with depression or any other pit life throws my way is to trust God, knowing He will deliver me.


Trusting God means understanding that He may deliver me from the pit or He may deliver

Read More

Today’s Truth

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 18:28

Friend to Friend


Have you ever received a gift that you wanted to return … but couldn’t? I certainly felt that way about the pit of depression the first time I experienced it. First of all, I did not see depression as a gift. Second, I wanted to take that nasty black hole to the nearest “Pit Store” and exchange it for a tall mountain of victory.


But I have finally come to the place where I thank God for what He has done in my life through my struggle with depression. I now realize that anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.


We all have a pit of some kind in our lives. Oh, your

Read More

Today’s Truth

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Friend to Friend


How much is enough? How much money do we have to make to be contented or to feel financially secure? How much “stuff” do we have to own to consider ourselves a success? How much is enough?


I grew up in Texas where we lived in what some might call a “shack” on the edge of a small town. To me, it was just home. My amazing mother often worked three jobs to make ends meet but that “meeting” did not always happen. Looking back, I can honestly say that God always provided what we needed – when we needed it. He still does.


My husband and I knew the finances would be tight one month and had planned accordingly

Read More

Today’s Truth

Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’

Matthew 22:37

Friend to Friend


From the moment of birth, we are taught that successful people never give up. Yet, I have discovered the paradoxical secret that true success can only be found in complete surrender.


Dr. Billy Graham tells the story of a little child who was playing with a very valuable vase. The child put his hand into the vase but could not pull it out. His father tried to free the little boy’s hand, but couldn’t. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Son, let’s try one more time. Open your hand and hold your fingers out really straight and then pull.” The look of alarm on the boy’s face surprised the dad until the little boy

Read More

Today’s Truth

The LORD does what is right, and he loves justice, so honest people will see his face.

Psalm 11:7

Friend to Friend


Worship is a word we often use but something we rarely experience. Oh, we say we are going to a worship service each Sunday, but do we really encounter the living God? Or do we merely participate in another weekly religious gathering?


When was the last time you walked away from a worship service – eternally changed because God met you there? We misunderstand what true worship is and fail to recognize the requirements of worship.


A preacher, out for a walk, noticed a group of boys standing around a small stray dog. “What are you doing, boys?” he asked. “Telling lies,” one young man explained. “The one who tells the biggest lie gets the dog.” The minister was shocked

Read More

Today’s Truth

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Friend to Friend


I thought I was so Godly … until we decided to move. If you want to measure your faith, just decide to pack up everything you own, put it in cardboard boxes, and move.


And if you really want to test the strength of your faith, decide to basically gut the house into which you are moving. Yep! That ought to do it!


Paint. I know a fresh coat of paint can make old walls dance with new life, but painting is also messy, time consuming, and the source of total chaos. Icky drop cloths are sprawled everywhere, paintbrushes have to be cleaned in a foul-smelling liquid, cans of paint must be lugged from room-to-room along with paint trays that

Read More

Today’s Truth

We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us - they help us develop endurance.

Romans 5:3

Friend to Friend


My daughter and I are exactly alike, which means that we can really push each other’s buttons. Danna is now a grown woman and an amazing wife and mom, so the button-pushing phase is pretty much something we laugh about. We were recently on a shopping trip when we saw a mom and her teenage daughter arguing about an outfit. Danna and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. Ah, sweet memories.


I remembered a particularly rough day when Danna was in high school. Everything was a battle, none of which I seemed to win. My patience was wearing thin. Everything I asked her to do was met with opposition and multiple reasons why she did not

Read More

Today’s Truth

The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.”

Psalm 28:7

Friend to Friend


I love the story of a tourist visiting the Grand Canyon. As he gazed in wonder at the sight before him, the tourist got too close to the edge, lost his footing, and fell over the side. Just before he went out of sight, the man grabbed a scrubby bush and held on for dear life. Filled with terror, he called out toward heaven, “Is anyone up there?” A calm powerful voice came out of the sky, “Yes, there is.” The tourist pleaded, “Can you help me?” The calm voice replied, “I’m sure I can. What seems to be the problem?” The man explained, “I fell over the edge of the canyon and am now dangling in space,

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God.

Hebrews 2:17

Friend to Friend


God sent His son Jesus Christ, the greatest communicator ever to walk the earth, so that He could make a way to reach us. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ make it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with Him, to communicate with God right where we are. To think that God wants to talk with me, to hear my voice and listen to my deepest heart longings is an amazing but true realization. Prayer is simply conversation with God, but it is in those intimate conversations that battles are won and strength is gained.


In Biblical times, the high priest was the communication link between God and man. Today, Jesus is our high

Read More

Today’s Truth

Then the people brought their little children to Jesus. His followers told them to stop, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children’

Matthew 19:13-14

Friend to Friend


Life is not a series of accidents but a succession of divine appointments. That interruption we complain about, that intrusion we resent is simply a window of opportunity sent by God.


God uses the intrusive sandpaper person to rub off and sand away those attitudes and desires that are not wholly pleasing to Him. Like a well-sharpened scalpel, God uses difficult relationships to carve away the sinful mind-set that time is ours to arrange and spend, and that relationships are ours to dictate.


Our response to sandpaper people would drastically change if we adopted the perspective of building into every day’s schedule margins of time that allow for divine interruptions.


One Saturday night, our daughter Danna and I were invited to

Read More

Today’s Truth

Jesus has the power of God, by which He has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know Him.

2 Peter 1:3

Friend to Friend


I do not have a green thumb. In fact, friends and family members refuse to let me come within two feet of any living plant … but I keep trying. I once planted some flowers in our front yard. Actually, I just kind of stuck them in the ground, prayed over them, and hoped for a miracle. After a few days, they were still alive and looking good. I was so proud! Then a summer storm came through. I ventured outside to check on my flowers and discovered them lying on the ground, beaten to a pulp!


I lived next door to Martha Stewart’s twin sister who had planted the very same flowers which had gone through the very

Read More

Today’s Truth

Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Colossians 4:6

Friend to Friend


Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors. I recently read an article that said the famed children’s author loved challenges. In 1959, the co-founder of his publishing company bet Dr. Seuss that he could not write an actual book with a good story using fifty words or less. Dr. Seuss quickly accepted the bet. The result? The beloved book, “Green Eggs and Ham.” To date it has sold over 200 million copies – using only 49 words in its entirety. Dr. Seuss might be on to something.


Less is often more. When it comes to words with impact, being long-winded is not a value. But speaking the right words can be life changing.


The spoken word is powerful, and

Read More

Today’s Truth

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

Psalm 10:17

Friend to Friend


I did not want to get on that plane! I was tired – I mean bone-tired. My back was killing me. I was headed to my third speaking engagement that month, and what I really wanted to do was go home and spend time with my family. As I walked on the plane, I desperately prayed that I would sit by someone who did not want to talk – about anything. How is that for a godly prayer? Just keeping it real!


I avoided making eye contact with anyone. After finding my seat, I slid my briefcase under the seat in front of me, grabbed a magazine from the seat pocket, and pretended to read. When the stewardess began

Read More

Today’s Truth

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11

Friend to Friend


I could not tear my eyes away from the television screen as the 33 miners began to emerge from the depths of what could have been their mass grave. The men had been trapped for more than two months in the collapsed Chilean copper mines nearly half a mile underground. Everything I have read or heard about the tragedy is extraordinary.


The miners survived the early days by rationing food and working together as a team. Each man was assigned a job, one of which was to maintain peace and harmony until they were rescued. The selfless mining supervisor who insisted on being the last to leave his underground prison showed the world what it really means to put

Read More

Today’s Truth

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

John 10:10

Friend to Friend


Jesus lived and died so that we can experience abundant life, a life exuding joy, and a life so full that others crave to know the source of that fullness. Jesus did not come so that we can merely survive life. Pagans can survive life. Jesus came to be our joy.


I came across this quote: “Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within.” If that is true, then why are so many women living lives with little or no joy? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy, allowing him to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams, and unrealized goals are some of

Read More

Today’s Truth

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.

James 1:19

Friend to Friend


President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile of his and saying all the usual things at the White House receptions he was required to attend. One evening he decided to find out if anybody was really listening to what he was saying.


As each person came through the reception line to shake his hand, President Roosevelt flashed his big smile and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” People automatically responded with comments such as “How lovely” or “Keep up the great work, Mr. President.”


Nobody really listened to what he was saying except for one foreign diplomat. When the president said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the diplomat responded softly, “I’m sure she had

Read More

Today’s Truth

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

Friend to Friend


Time management is a dreaded and often ignored spiritual discipline for many of us. We have forgotten that our minutes, hours, and days are precious commodities – gifts from God that can be unwrapped only once. Time is wasted unless it is invested in goals and priorities that are rooted in God’s plan.


A busy life is not necessarily a productive life. Oh, I can hear it now. “I am very busy, but I am busy doing good things.” Those words were the cry of my heart just before I crashed and burned and landed in a pit of clinical depression. The problem with my list of “good things” was that it was just that – my list –

Read More

Today’s Truth

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3

Friend to Friend


For most of my adult life I have wrongly equated being busy with being productive. I am guilty as charged when it comes to living each day in overdrive. The result has been exhaustion, burnout, and watered down living. God and I both knew that the facade I had so carefully erected was a spiritual monument to self-promotion and pride-filled goals.


I have always loved music and began taking piano lessons at the age of five. I will never forget that first piano lesson with Mrs. McKenzie, a very sweet, elderly woman who played the piano beautifully.


“Let’s get started,” Mrs. McKenzie said. I climbed up on the piano bench, waiting for her brilliant instruction to begin. She placed a

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2

Friend to Friend


I will never forget the day I discovered that our son is not perfect. In fact, I came to the horrifying realization that he is a sinner – just like his mother.


Jered was about six months old and crawling everywhere. I had just returned from running errands and was busy putting groceries away in the kitchen. Jered seemed content as he played with his toys, occasionally taking a break to terrorize our two cats.


When Jered first began crawling, we removed anything that could hurt him. We had, however, left a beautiful conch seashell on the living room coffee table and used it to begin the arduous task of teaching Jered the meaning of “no.” We would repeatedly point

Read More

Today’s Truth

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Psalm 23:5

Friend to Friend


The thought of hosting a large dinner party makes me want to lock the front door and run for the hills. It is just not “my thing.” But over the years, I have learned how to entertain small groups and now absolutely love doing it.


My friend, Michelle, is the consummate hostess. She makes entertaining look so easy. To her, a dinner party for 50 guests is a simple feat. Just shoot me now!


One of Michelle’s favorite preparations is the dinner table. When I’m expecting company, the first guests to arrive often have the honor of setting the table with whatever they can find in the way of tablecloths, silverware, glasses, and … you get the idea. Not Michelle.

Read More

Today’s Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight .

Proverbs 3:5-6

Friend to Friend


I love being a grandmother. I absolutely adore our six grandchildren and work hard at finding any excuse to spend time with them. They are my greatest teachers.


I was visiting our son and his family a few years ago. It was late. Our son Jered was getting the kids ready for bed while our daughter-in-law Jodi and I enjoyed some uninterrupted “girl time” together. We met at the kitchen island and decided that a snack was in order. Jodi grabbed the crackers out of the pantry while I fished the pimento cheese and grapes out of the refrigerator. And so it began – the ritualistic gab session of two women simply catching up on life.


As we talked and

Read More

Today’s Truth

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Friend to Friend


Normal can be a good thing.


Like when the doctor’s office calls to say that the tests results are normal or when the mechanic tells you that the funny noise your car is making will not cost you hundreds of dollars to repair – it is just a normal part of wear and tear.


But when it comes to our spiritual lives – normal may not always be a good thing.


I am a pastor’s wife and love the fact that God has called me to serve beside my husband in that role. But some people think a pastor’s wife should look, act, speak and dress a certain way. I tend to think God called me to be Mary … and

Read More

Today’s Truth

The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because You are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and Your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the LORD’s house for days without end.

Psalm 23:1-6

Friend to Friend


Christmas is my favorite time of the year. When our children were young, we always bought our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We piled into “Old Blue,” my husband’s well-worn truck, and headed for the tree lot two minutes from our house. When we arrived, Dan and the kids quickly fanned out in search of our tree.


As tradition demanded, Dan immediately began muttering “Bah, humbug” under his breath, but just loud enough for all of us to hear. That was the cue for Danna to begin rolling her eyes and correcting her Scrooge Father. Our son Jered ignored them both as he surveyed the tree lot. He had his own tradition to uphold since he was usually

Read More

Today’s Truth

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

James 4:17

Friend to Friend


I was in a hurry. It was Wednesday and I had several errands to run before heading to the church where I teach a monthly Bible study for women. My last stop was the grocery store. I wanted to pick up snacks and drinks for many of the women who came straight from work to the study. It didn’t take long to fill my cart with drinks, chips, fruit and a few bags of the essential chocolate treats. Mission accomplished, I headed to the checkout lane.


I suddenly had the thought that I should check out the Christmas decorations. Huh? Where had that idea come from? True, it was only a few weeks until Christmas, but I didn’t even

Read More

Today’s Truth

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:16-20

Friend to Friend


According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 110 million Americans take medication for stress-related causes each week. During the holiday season, another one million people battle what experts refer to as the holiday blues.


I am very familiar with depression and the pain it holds and must constantly battle to stay out of that pit.


To deal with depression, we must first come to a place of total surrender to God and His plan of healing, even if we cannot see or understand that plan. The bottom line of God’s heart toward His children is always restoration and healing.


While I am not a big fan of television, I do enjoy watching home improvement shows. On a recent program,

Read More

Today’s Truth

So encourage each other and give each other strength.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Friend to Friend


Yep! It is hard to love people who are hard to love. But they are the ones who need love most. I know. I am sometimes hard to love and I desperately need the love of those around me who can look past my flawed behavior to the hidden pain.


We once lived in South Florida where we experienced a couple of unlovable neighbors. In fact, they seemed to thrive on being unlovable … but our children were determined to love them anyway. (Now would be a good time to go back and read my last devotion.)


Jered and Danna made special Christmas cards for these neighbors, the Smiths, and wanted to deliver those cards in person. I suggested they

Read More

Today’s Truth

You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:43-44

Friend to Friend


It is so much easier to love people who are just like me. I wish God’s commands lined up with the way I think. They don’t. In fact, they defy human logic altogether. We are not only to love our neighbor – which encompasses a world of messy people – but we are also to love our enemies and pray for people who rub us the wrong way. I call them sandpaper people.


Dan and I once lived in a neighborhood of predominantly retired people who quickly became surrogate grandparents, aunts, and uncles for our two children since both of our families lived several states away. The one exception was the older couple that lived behind us.


Let’s just say that the Smiths

Read More

Today’s Truth

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

Friend to Friend


Two boys on the school playground were discussing a boy in their class. One of them remarked, “He’s no good at sports.” The other quickly responded, “Yes, but he always plays fair.” The critical one added, “He isn’t very smart.” His friend answered, “That may be true, but he studies hard.” The boy with the mean tongue was getting frustrated. “Well,” he sneered, “did you ever notice how ragged his clothes are?” The other boy kindly replied, “Yes, but did you ever notice they’re always clean!” The first boy threw his hands up in total frustration and walked away shouting, “It is impossible to talk to you!” Adopt the “Yes, but” philosophy and you will quickly find that

Read More

Today’s Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Friend to Friend


The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, deserted island. He prayed fervently for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none came. Exhausted, he eventually built a small hut out of driftwood as a shelter and a place to store his few remaining possessions.


One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke billowing up to the sky. Everything was lost. Stunned with grief and anger, he cried, “God, how could You do this to me?” Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

Read More

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8